Let’s take a moment of silence to remember the people that inhabited the land of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory over the past 8,000 years.
Fast forward to present day: Fermilab is a pioneer of international particle physics, which includes supporting Native American students in STEM through its diversity and inclusion pipeline programs. Our laboratory was recently part of a Department of Energy partnership that included an exhibit with participation from more than 10 DOE laboratories at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference held in Denver, Colorado, from Sept. 21-23. This effort also included the 2017 SACNAS conference in October, Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, which Fermilab also attended.
I attended the AISES 40th-anniversary celebration and connected with many Native American students and educators from across the nation. Some of my highlights included meeting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Engineering Directorate Senior Superintendent Randolph “Randy” Pico (Luiseño tribe) and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific electrical engineer Lawrence “Ren” Short Bull (Rosebud Sioux tribe). Part of my job is to support Fermilab’s Summer Internships in Science and Technology (SIST) Program, and I was amazed to find out that Ren was part of SIST 2003! Ren commented, “The experience that SIST provided was absolutely amazing, and I’m thrilled that Fermilab is maintaining the program.” Check out Ren’s SIST story on the program site.
Moreover, Ren received the AISES 2013 Professional of the Year Award for Technical Excellence and, along with Randy, is a proud official AISES supporter. You can read more about Ren’s award in the Lakota Country Times article, “SPAWAR engineer honored with AISES Technical Excellence Award.” I also encourage the Fermilab community to explore our virtual exhibit of on-site Native American history and to learn more at the Native American Heritage Month website.
Like many other months of inclusivity or awareness, this work goes beyond any designated month, and it takes every one of us to promote inclusion and contribute to long-lasting change.
Mario Lucero is the Fermilab diversity and inclusion specialist.